My cat isn’t as food crazy as my dog but we do share a common vice. We both love chips, a lot.
When I’m eating my salt and vinegar chips on the sofa, he will be next to me eyeing my treat with a longing gaze.
It can be tempting for us to share what we are eating with our cats at times. But can cats eat salt and vinegar chips?
Salt and vinegar chips are not toxic to cats in general but the ingredients used are not very healthy for cats. Furthermore, there might be other flavorings and seasonings that can be toxic to cats if you are not careful.
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of feline nutrition to further understand just how safe salt and vinegar chips are for cats.
What Goes Into The Making Of Salt And Vinegar Chips?
There’s no magic formula when it comes to making salt and vinegar chips. It is basically deep-fried potato slices that are mixed with salt and vinegar to give that tangy flavor
Here’s the nutritional fact for 1 oz of salt and vinegar chips:
Calories: 150 kcal
Here are the main ingredients used:
- Vegetable oil
- Citic acid
The above ingredients are fine for human consumption but not all of them as safe for your cat.
Potatoes are widely eaten as an energy source as it is high in carbohydrates. And for humans, carbs are where we derive most of our energy from.
When it comes to cats, it doesn’t work this way.
That cute little furry cat you have at home still has the same dietary requirements as its cousins in the wild1.
Cats are first and foremost obligate carnivores which means that their primary source of energy comes from eating animal protein.
Even though some carbs in your cat’s diet aren’t an issue, it doesn’t serve any purpose as cats don’t have the necessary enzyme to break them down.
The problem arises when a cat starts to eat too much carbs in its diet.
Too much carbs can cause health issues such as:
- Feline obesity
Your cat needs to be eating animal protein to survive.
Vegetable oil is commonly used in the food manufacturing industry for frying and grilling. The usual ones which you will find are canola oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil.
Chips are mostly deep-fried in vegetable oil to make them crunchy in the manufacturing process of potato chips.
Vegetable oil is high in fat which isn’t healthy for cats.
Even though cats do need a certain amount of fats in their diet to be healthy, the correct source of fat should be from the meat they eat and not plant matter.
Too much fat in your cat’s diet can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis and vomiting.
Salt can be a double-edged sword for cats.
On one hand, cats need some sodium in their daily diet to be healthy. Sodium is essential for maintaining good health for our pets.
Most cats require about 21-40mg worth of salt daily. And if your cat were to consume 1 oz of salt and vinegar chips, that’s almost 10x the recommended intake.
Such a large amount of salt in your cat’s body can lead to sodium poisoning.
Some side effects include:
- Excessive thirst
If your cat has its face stuffed in a bag of salt and vinegar chips without your realizing it, please bring it to the vet for treatment immediately.
A cat can die from ingesting too much salt within 24 hours.
Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate and is used as a thickener or preservative in food. It is highly processed and resembles white powder.
Although it has no taste, maltodextrin works the same way as sugar.
Too much of this compound is bad for cats as it can lead to feline obesity and diabetes.
If your cat is already diabetic, maltodextrin should be avoided to prevent insulin spikes.
Citric acid is a chemical compound that is found in citrus fruits like lemon, lime, oranges, and grapefruit. It is this acid that gives these fruits their sour taste.
If you have ever been tricked into eating those sour candies, you can understand how sour citric acid can be.
Anything citric is very toxic to cats and can cause stomach upset and even affect their central nervous system.
There are some pet food manufacturers that use citric acid as a preservative. This is usually found in dry food that is manufactured to last for months without going bad.
The lack of moisture and citric acid on the kibbles prevents bacteria from growing.
Not exactly the best combination since cats need more water and should be avoiding citric acid.
Stop feeding your cat dry food and feed good canned cat food or the raw meat diet.
Can Cats Eat Vinegar?
Even though the vinegar in salt and vinegar chips isn’t toxic to cats, many cats won’t find the acidic taste and smell of vinegar appetizing.
Vinegar is mainly used as a homemade deterrent spray for cats. Mix some apple cider vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spray it on areas that you want your cat to avoid.
If your cat licks vinegar off the floor or table, it will be fine.
Besides having absolutely no nutritional value at all to cats, the harshness of vinegar can irritate your cat’s mouth and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Toxic To Cats?
There are some cat owners who feed their cats apple cider vinegar due to its high mineral and vitamin content.
A small amount is added to the cat’s food or water.
Here are some reported benefits of giving your cat some ACV.
- Boost immune system
- Cure urinary tract infection
- Repel parasites like fleas
- Improves skin and fur coat
I’m not a fan of the smell myself and I can’t imagine how strong it smells to cats given their acute sense of smell.
If you do plan to give some ACV to your cat, it might be a good idea to run it by your vet first as it can be quite harsh on a cat’s digestive system.
Can I Feed My Cat Chips?
There is no need for cat owners to feed their feline companions such a snack. The body of a cat isn’t made to break down carbohydrates and use it for energy.
If your cat does like the occasional potato chip, get those that are unsalted and without any flavors.
Please do not feed your cat fries from McDonald’s as those are high in salt and fat too.
A safer alternative would be to bake your own potato chips for your cat without any salt or seasoning.
Cut up small pieces of potato that are easy for your cat to eat.
Put them in the oven or air fryer till they are cooked through.
You can feed your cat a few pieces over the course of the week as a treat. But treats should not consist of more than 10% of your cat’s daily calorie intake.
Potato chips by themselves aren’t exactly bad for cats. If you strip it down to its base ingredient, it basically is a potato that is baked or fried.
What makes potato chips unhealthy for cats is when there are artificial flavorings and preservatives present like salt and vinegar chips.
The combination of excess salt and a harsh ingredient like vinegar can be toxic to cats. I doubt cats will find the taste and smell palatable as well.
Keep processed food away from cats as their bodies are not equipped to break down or handle many of the ingredients.